Do you have some old, unneeded prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet and wonder what to do with them? If you are thinking of throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet – stop, there is a better option.

On Saturday, Sept. 25 you will be able to drop of those unwanted medications with professionals who will dispose of them safely and properly. The effort is part of “National Take Back Day” conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other government and public safety officials.

Authorities will set up several sites around Texas and the rest of the nation where you can drop-off old medicine between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Among the numerous places in the Brazos basin where you can safely dispose of unwanted medicines is the Parker County Sheriff’s Office in Weatherford, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Annex in Cedar Park and several locations around Houston. Officials are continuously adding drop-off locations. To find the site nearest you, click here.

The DEA is sponsoring the program in an effort to help reduce the number of accidental poisonings as well as theft and abuse of prescription medicine. However, the program will also help reduce the dumping of old medicines into the environment – including our water supply.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, studies have shown that low levels of pharmaceuticals are present in some of our nation’s water bodies. Further research suggests that there may be some ecological harm when certain drugs are present, but so far, no evidence has been found of human health effects. Authorities continue to study the issue.

While water treatment plants can remove some chemicals, at this time, wastewater systems are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals. Currently, the best way to reduce the amount of chemicals in our water is at their source – by curbing the disposal of pharmaceuticals into our water systems.

For more information about pharmaceuticals in the environment, click here